Leeann Monk and Jennifer Neff Co Founders Elemental Software

Leeann Monk and Jennifer Neff Co Founders Elemental Software

Derry Tech For Good Company, Elemental Software, which has developed an award winning social prescribing digital platform that connects patients, health and social care professionals and community health & wellness providers, announced today that it has raised £300,000 with the help of ClearlySo, Europe’s leading impact investment bank. Elemental is using the capital to further develop its software that supports and empowers lifestyle change for communities most at risk, make key staff hires, and expand marketing reach.

Elemental’s platform is the only comprehensive social prescribing solution developed by community development experts that measures the impact of social prescribing and the difference that non clinical solutions can make to the health and wellbeing of communities, which is a growing priority at the highest level in government and rapidly being adopted in the UK.

Elemental Software’s platform was awarded the ‘Best Tech in the 3rd Sector’ of 2016 by Digital DNA and the best enterprise software at INVENT 2016. Leeann Monk and Jennifer Neff, co-founders of Elemental Software, said: “We are absolutely delighted that ClearlySo plugged into the Elemental vision for revolutionising the ability to socially prescribe across the health, social care and third sectors. The investment partnership, created by London based Clearly So, engages social impact investors who each bring a wealth of knowledge, expertise and resource to help us solve one of the most pressing health and social care challenges of our generation.“

More than 80% of the world’s chronic conditions can be avoided by lifestyle change alone. Despite this, chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, mental health related illness and heart disease are rising and so too are costs. In the UK alone, the NHS, which has a funding gap estimated at £22bn by 2020, is spending £7 out £10 in treatment of conditions while GPs capacity is strained.

The key aim of Elemental’s Social Prescribing platform is to demonstrate the value and difference that referrals to local exercise, diet and nutrition and mental support can make to peoples’ lives. Further commenting, Stefano Cappanari, investment manager at ClearlySo, said: “We were very pleased to play a role in helping Elemental scale the “more than medicine” approach to health. From grass-roots Jennifer and Leeann built a business around the patient, health and social professionals, community based providers and Commissioners and we are excited that the capital raise, which closed in record time, and capabilities from our network will allow them to take the next step in transforming our care system for better.”

Mary McKenna, Director at Elemental Software, first introduced the company to ClearlySo, and concludes “I look for startups with that magic combination of knowledgeable and credible founders, a great product and a large and ready market opportunity. Elemental Software has all of that and more.

This investment round will allow Elemental Software to reach that huge social prescribing market at lightning speed.

Catalyst Inc welcomes the investment

Catalyst Inc welcomes the investment

The SEUPB has announced that funding of over €8.5 million from the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme has been offered to Catalyst Inc for the creation of a new cross-border ‘super cluster’ within the Health & Life Sciences business sector.

The project is called the ‘North West Centre for Advanced Manufacturing’, and will be led by Catalyst Inc. It will support eight different key Health & Life Sciences companies involved in 15 different research projects based in the North West to develop new products and processes.

The project aims to enhance the level of cross-border research and innovation collaboration within the area of applied advanced manufacturing. It will also significantly increase the the number of Health & Life Science businesses engaged in commercially focused research in order to make them more competitive.

The project will bring together a number of partners in the creation of a new ‘super cluster’ including the Engineering Research Institute at Ulster University, the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre at Glasgow University, the PEM Centre at Sligo Institute of Technology and the CoLab facility at the Letterkenny Institute of Technology. Industry partners include Sphere Global, Randox, Lpe, Armstrong Medical, Nuprint, Abbott and GSK.

A total of 26 PhD level researchers, along with post-doctoral research assistants will be recruited over the life time of the project, to work with the eight participating companies, and create up to 98.5 years’ worth of PhD full time equivalent research.

Match-funding for the project has been provided by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in Ireland, the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland and the University of Glasgow.

Announcing the funding award Gina McIntyre CEO of the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), which manages the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme said: “This project will make a real impact in terms of providing support for a business sector with strong economic potential. The research produced will be used to strengthen the economic outlook of businesses on a cross-border basis.

“This is one of the core objectives of the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme which has been specifically designed to enhance the levels of Research & Innovation found within businesses across the region,” she continued.

Commenting on the announcement, Dr Norman Apsley CEO Catalyst Inc said:

‘As lead partner for the North West Centre for Advanced Manufacturing, we are delighted that the project has been awarded this EU funding. At Catalyst Inc we are focused on advancing the Knowledge Economy and this project will support the development of new products and services by bringing together industry and academic partners to work on research projects deploying Advanced Manufacturing technologies within the Life and Health Sciences sector.

This will see the development of a virtual cross-border Centre for Advanced Manufacturing with a focus on four cross-cutting thematic areas, enabling our industry partners to benefit from additional research facilities and expertise which will have a positive impact on the companies and the wider economy.

Our aim is to increase the level of cross-border collaboration across the region and raise the levels of innovation both of which are key to the regions future economic success.’

A spokesperson for the Department for the Economy said: “Investment in research and development is critical to future economic growth. Strong collaboration between industry and academia will also contribute to success. The creation of this new super-cluster is a welcome development for the health and life sciences sector and a boost for the North West border region.”

Welcoming the project Ireland’s Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor, said: “I am delighted that this project has been approved and I am very happy that my Department is in a position to co-fund this project. It is a great example of practical cross border cooperation, which will bring strong economic benefits to the eligible regions in both jurisdictions. Manufacturing has been a key sector for us over the years, providing valuable jobs and investment. This new initiative will help drive competitiveness and enhanced value-added, at a time of significant technological change in the industry.”

Padraig Canavan (Acorn Angels) and Oli Cavanagh (Flender)

Padraig Canavan (Acorn Angels) and Oli Cavanagh (Flender)

Irish-based company Flender has won a funding package including the first investment by the Derry/Londonderry Acorn Angel Group, which included Padraig Canavan, Liam Bradley and Paul McElvaney. Flender is an online platform that creates a marketplace for businesses and individuals in the Republic of Ireland to borrow and lend money safely and at better rates than those offered by the banks.

In a significant development following this investment, Flender was awarded full FCA authorisation to launch in the UK, a market nearly 300 times larger than the Irish Peer-to-Peer market. The Flender UK offering will launch in June.

Flender is the brainchild of Strabane born Oli Cavanagh and business partners Kris Koik and Jeremy Davies Betancourt. They have secured funding of nearly £1M to develop the opportunity. This marks the first investment by the Acorn Angels group, whose focus is on investing in the North West and who hope to attract more businesses to pitch for investment.

As well as the Acorn Angels, which was facilitated by Halo at Catalyst Inc, the funding package includes a number of private investors, including Mark Roden, cofounder of Esat Digifone (sold for over £1Billion) and founder of Ding, the world’s largest mobile top-up network. The company is also ‘backed by the crowd’, having reached their £500,000 funding target on crowdfunding platform, Seedrs, in January this year.

Flender enables businesses and consumers to borrow money through their existing networks of friends, family and customers. This market alone is estimated to be worth £2.9bn per annum and it is the aim of company to be first to formalise and automate it.

The platform has just gone live in Ireland and is launching in the UK in June. The company already has many businesses on their flender.ie site seeking a total investment of over €900,000 plus a pipeline of others ready to go onto the platform.

Flender’s Co-Founder, Oli Cavanagh, explains:

Flender lets people take advantage of a disruptive marketplace that is seeing triple-digit growth, making access to funds easier and generating better returns for lenders. It is a web and mobile offering that lets borrowers decide the amount they wish to repay over a period that suits them. They are quickly matched with lenders who also get the return they want. Borrowing and lending happens via a smartphone, in a paperless transaction, and with automated payments setup and digital contracts that provide a secure legal framework. It also lets businesses reward their customers by inviting them to participate, and directs the repayments to them rather than to a bank. The knock-on effect of this is increased loyalty from customers.”

Liam Bradley, Acorn Angels, commented:

“The ability of the Flender platform to engage lenders from within a business’ own social circles is what the group identified as a real gap in the market. Within an addressable market of over £5.4bn between the UK and Ireland, we believe that the company has an opportunity for massive growth. With our first investment under our belts, we would welcome more companies from the North West applying to the group for investment. ”

Pictured launching the new Green Energy Fund as part of their commitment to helping green energy projects are James Gibbons and Conor Devine of Clearpath Finance

Pictured launching the new Green Energy Fund as part of their commitment to helping green energy projects are James Gibbons and Conor Devine of Clearpath Finance

Clearpath Finance, a lending solutions platform has launched a new private investment fund to provide at least £30m to green energy projects and assist local businesses in Northern Ireland.

The Green Energy Fund will be available for new and existing wind farms and anaerobic digester businesses and projects across Northern Ireland.

To date Clearpath Finance has drawn down over £8m of new capital for green energy projects since the company was established in 2016. More growth is expected as Northern Ireland seeks to meet an increasing amount of its energy needs from renewable sources. The green sector generated more than £43bn for the UK in 2015, figures recently released from the Office for National Statistics showed.

Conor Devine MRICS of Clearpath Finance said; “We are committed to helping green energy projects in Northern Ireland. Continued growth and investment into this sector is vital as we move to harvest renewable energy sources.At Clearpath Finance we have the capacity to support the green energy sector in Northern Ireland and we will ensure that business lending for the sector is through a simplified, uncluttered and expedient path as well as at a competitive rate.”

Clearpath Finance provides an alternative source of lending as a commercial finance broker working with a number of major lenders across the UK. The company has established excellent relationships working with a select number of peer-to-peer lenders, equity and mezzanine funders and private lending consortiums to go some way to solve the current liquity crisis in the local economy.

James Gibbons, Clearpath Finance added; “Obtaining and delivering finance in this current market can be extremely difficult. At Clearpath, we have identified the support and solutions needed for businesses who are seeking to finance or refinance their business or project at more competitive finance rates than those currently on offer. We will continue to provide new finance streams to businesses across Northern Ireland.”

Clearpath Finance are currently attending this year’s Balmoral Show between the 10th to 13th May 2017 where they are available to discuss renewable energy projects and advise on how best to avail of funding. More information can be founds at www.clearpathfinance.com.